How to Become a Citizen of Jamaica

How to Become a Citizen of Jamaica

A Jamaican passport is not the most obvious option for second citizenship. Unfortunately, unlike other Caribbean countries, Jamaica does not grant citizenship for investment. Most foreigners become Jamaican citizens through family ties: by birth or marriage. However, you can also get a Jamaican passport through naturalisation. Read on to learn the details. 

About Jamaican Citizenship

The Jamaican passport does not feature in the list of the top most powerful passports in the world as it allows visa-free or simplified entry to only 87 countries. In comparison, Japanese, Singaporean, South Korean, German, and Spanish citizens can travel freely to over 190 countries. 

However, Jamaican citizens can easily visit Argentina, Australia, the USA, the UAE, Vietnam, Uruguay, Thailand, the Caribbean, most African countries, and many more. Some of them do not require a visa, while for others Jamaicans need visas on arrival or electronic ones.

Negril, Jamaica. Photo: Rock Staar (Unsplash)

Can I Get Jamaican Citizenship through Investment?

Unlike some of its Caribbean neighbours, Jamaica does not grant "golden passports," that is when you gain citizenship by investing in the country. It is possible in Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. There you can get a local passport for investing between $100,000 and $150,000 in various funds or for putting at least $200,000 into real estate. Citizenship of these countries allows you to travel to more than 100 countries visa-free or on a simplified basis.

Montego Bay, Jamaica. Photo: Tyrone Sanders (Unsplash)

Jamaican Citizenship by Birth or Descent

Typically, people obtain Jamaican citizenship either by jus soil or jus sanguinis. The first means that any person born in Jamaica is eligible for Jamaican citizenship, regardless of their parents' nationality. The second principle grants citizenship to people born abroad with at least one Jamaican parent. Both these options are stated in the Jamaican Nationality Act, which has been in force since 1962. 

Children born in Jamaica automatically receive citizenship with minimal requirements. Applicants have to submit a birth certificate or the ID of the child and their parents and a receipt for paying the fee. 

The jus sanguinis principle is applied to applicants with at least one Jamaican parent. However, you are also eligible for citizenship if your grandparents were or are citizens of Jamaica. In this case, you must provide

  • applicant's birth certificate,
  • applicant's ID (if applicable),
  • parents' birth certificates and IDs,
  • birth certificate and ID of a Jamaican grandparent, and
  • marriage certificate of the applicant's parents or grandparents (if applicable). 

Adopted children are also eligible for Jamaican citizenship. A child must be legally adopted by a Jamaican citizen in accordance with the Status of Children Act.

Treasure Beach, Jamaica. Photo:

Citizenship by Marriage

A foreigner married to a Jamaican citizen can apply for citizenship and submit the documents in or outside Jamaica. In other words, you can apply at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency in Jamaica or at a Jamaican consulate abroad. 

The application package must have

  • completed R1 application in duplicate,
  • applicant's ID and birth certificate,
  • marriage certificate,
  • spouse's birth certificate and Jamaican passport, and
  • police clearance certificate issued in the country of the applicant's permanent residency.


Sometimes people do not have local citizenship, but live in a country on a residence permit. The most common way to obtain this permit is to sign a contract with a local employer. Naturalisation in a country means that a person can apply for local citizenship after legally living in the country for quite a long time. 

Jamaica requires expats seeking naturalisation to live in the country for at least five years. Moreover, you must not leave the country in the 12 months before applying for Jamaican citizenship.

There is a list of requirements an applicant must fulfil to get citizenship in Jamaica by naturalisation. For instance, you must prove that you

  • intend to settle in Jamaica,
  • have no criminal records,
  • have a permanent place of residence and a stable source of income, and
  • have integrated into the local society, (e.g., know the traditions, customs, and laws). 

Furthermore, you will need to provide four references from Jamaican citizens who got their passport by birth. Note that you cannot submit references from your Jamaican relatives, agents, lawyers or civil servants. 

You are also required to publish a notice of your intention to obtain Jamaican citizenship in a local newspaper. The application for citizenship must include a minimum of two notices published at least one week apart. 

The application must include the following documents:

  • birth certificate and a passport,
  • work permit or contract,
  • evidence of being involved in community activities, and
  • a tax compliance certificate.


Registration for Commonwealth Citizens

Commonwealth citizens can get a Jamaican passport by registration, which is quite similar to naturalisation, but a bit simpler. The requirements for applicants for citizenship by registration are not as complicated as for naturalisation. For instance, you do not have to submit any references from Jamaican citizens.

Commonwealth citizens can apply for registration after five-year permanent residency in Jamaica. The application must include

  • R3 registration form signed in the presence of a justice of the peace or a notary,
  • birth certificate and passport,
  • employment contract,
  • evidence of being involved in community activities,
  • a tax compliance certificate,
  • proof of income, and
  • a bank statement.

Fees and Time Frame

All applicants must pay a fee for submitting their citizenship application. The fee depends on the route by which you obtain citizenship and ranges from $100 to $350, as of spring 2023. 

To be precise, the fees are

  • $100 for citizenship by descent,
  • $260 for citizenship by marriage,
  • $260 for registration of Commonwealth citizens, and
  • $350 for citizenship by naturalisation. 

The processing time frames also depend on the route to citizenship. For example, it takes from six to 12 months to process applications for citizenship by birth or descent. Applicants for citizenship by marriage wait for one year, but foreigners and Commonwealth citizens must wait twice as long, two years, to naturalise or register in Jamaica.

Blue Mountain, Jamaica. Photo: Yves Alarie (Unsplash)

Dual Citizenship in Jamaica

Jamaica allows dual citizenship. In fact, the Constitution does not really mention anything about it. It only has a section about Jamaican citizens who decided to get a second passport in another country. In this case, they must obey the laws of both countries. There are no limits or sanctions for foreigners with dual citizenship. Still, you have a right to renounce Jamaican citizenship and use your second passport only, but that would require authorisation from the local government.

In a Nutshell

There are five routes to citizenship of Jamaica: by birth, by descent, by naturalisation, by registration and by marriage. Jamaica does not grant "golden visas," but allows dual citizenship. Compared to other countries, it is quite easy to get Jamaican citizenship.

Cover photo:

All articles
Subscribe to this category so you don't miss any new posts
картинка на кнопке

Free consultation